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TM4T - Break Glass

This page was prompted by an e-mail received from a teacher recently. This teacher was convinced that she had a time management problem, but as for me, well I really couldn't see how time management could help - and obviously I'm kind of a specialist in time management problems.

I won't share the details, as anonymity was clearly important to the teacher involved, but I will sketch our how I saw her situation. This was a young teacher who seemed to be working entirely in isolation. She was struggling with student behaviour, and stressed by performance targets, and racked with doubt over her own capabilities as a teacher. In spite of this, she seemed entirely unwilling to seek help from her colleagues (though she worked in a core department in a large school) and was adamant that no practical help would be available if she approached the school management.  Her 'solution' was that she needed to find more time to do extra work at weekends.

Now, this teacher needs - and you, dear reader, need - to take my advice with a pinch of salt here.I'm kind of an expert on time management, but I'm not a trained psycho-therapist or a specialist in employment law.  I can say with some confidence whether a problem is a time management problem or not, but I can't pretend to be an expert on everything.

So, having got that clear, let's share some opinion and advice.  Teaching is a busy, busy job and it's easy to get totally focused on the minutiae of the job, so focused on the day-to-day debris that you lose sight of the underlying design - you forget the picture on the outside of the jigsaw box.  Sometimes you forget why you chose this job, and you get things out of perspective. Perfectly natural.

This is also how a lot of time management works. We focus on the detail, sometimes we focus on the UN-important; getting the little things right and hoping the big things take care of themselves... and a lot of the time, this works. Sometimes, though, this approach goes horribly wrong.

That's why it is really, really important that your Yearly Plan has slots for 'reflection'. If you don't like the word 'reflection' then call it something else. If you don't have a Yearly Plan, then just bung something on your kitchen calendar. If you don't have a kitchen calendar - well, you get the idea...  In this context, reflection means stepping back and looking at the big picture - the big picture being your career and your life - and asking yourself if you need to make serious changes.

In the case of the teacher above, I really wasn't able to help much. I wasn't qualified to help much, and my advice was no better than